The Jews Destroy Their Enemies

91 Now on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, when the time came for the king's order to be put into effect, on the very day when the haters of the Jews had been hoping to have rule over them; though the opposite had come about, and the Jews had rule over their haters; 2 On that day, the Jews came together in their towns through all the divisions of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, for the purpose of attacking all those who were attempting evil against them: and everyone had to give way before them, for the fear of them had come on all the peoples. 3 And all the chiefs and the captains and the rulers and those who did the king's business gave support to the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai had come on them. 4 For Mordecai was great in the king's house, and word of him went out through every part of the kingdom: for the man Mordecai became greater and greater. 5 So the Jews overcame all their attackers with the sword and with death and destruction, and did to their haters whatever they had a desire to do. 6 And in Shushan the Jews put to death five hundred men. 7 They put to death Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, 10 The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the hater of the Jews; but they put not a hand on any of their goods. 11 On that day the number of those who had been put to death in the town of Shushan was given to the king. 12 And the king said to Esther the queen, The Jews have put five hundred men to death in Shushan, as well as the ten sons of Haman: what then have they done in the rest of the kingdom! Now what is your prayer? for it will be given to you; what other request have you? and it will be done. 13 Then Esther said, If it is the king's pleasure, let authority be given to the Jews in Shushan to do tomorrow as has been done today, and let orders be given for the hanging of Haman's ten sons. 14 And the king said that this was to be done, and the order was given out in Shushan, and the hanging of Haman's ten sons was effected. 15 For the Jews who were in Shushan came together again on the fourteenth day of the month Adar and put to death three hundred men in Shushan; but they put not a hand on their goods.

The Feast of Purim

16 And the other Jews in every division of the kingdom came together, fighting for their lives, and got salvation from their haters and put seventy-five thousand of them to death; but they did not put a hand on their goods. 17 This they did on the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same month they took their rest, and made it a day of feasting and joy. 18 But the Jews in Shushan came together on the thirteenth and on the fourteenth day of the month; and on the fifteenth day they took their rest, and made it a day of feasting and joy. 19 So the Jews of the country places living in unwalled towns make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of feasting and joy and a good day, a day for sending offerings one to another.

20 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in every division of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, near and far, 21 Ordering them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and the fifteenth day of the same month, every year, 22 As days on which the Jews had rest from their haters, and the month which for them was turned from sorrow to joy, and from weeping to a good day: and that they were to keep them as days of feasting and joy, of sending offerings to one another and good things to the poor. 23 And the Jews gave their word to go on as they had been doing and as Mordecai had given them orders in writing; 24 Because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the hater of all the Jews, had made designs for their destruction, attempting to get a decision by Pur (that is, chance) with a view to putting an end to them and cutting them off; 25 But when the business was put before the king, he gave orders by letters that the evil design which he had made against the Jews was to be turned against himself; and that he and his sons were to be put to death by hanging. 26 So these days were named Purim, after the name of Pur. And so, because of the words of this letter, and of what they had seen in connection with this business, and what had come to them, 27 The Jews made a rule and gave an undertaking, causing their seed and all those who were joined to them to do the same, so that it might be in force for ever, that they would keep those two days, as ordered in the letter, at the fixed time every year; 28 And that those days were to be kept in memory through every generation and every family, in every division of the kingdom and every town, that there might never be a time when these days of Purim would not be kept among the Jews, or when the memory of them would go from the minds of their seed. 29 Then Esther the queen, daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, sent a second letter giving the force of their authority to the order about the Purim. 30 And he sent letters to all the Jews in the hundred and twenty-seven divisions of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with true words of peace, 31 Giving the force of law to these days of Purim at their fixed times, as they had been ordered by Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen, and in keeping with the rules they had made for themselves and their seed, in connection with their time of going without food and their cry for help. 32 The order given by Esther gave the force of law to the rules about the Purim; and it was recorded in the book.

Mordecai's Greatness

101 And King Ahasuerus put a tax on the land and on the islands of the sea. 2 And all his acts of power and his great strength and the full story of the high place which the king gave Mordecai, are they not recorded in the book of the history of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and respected by the body of his countrymen; working for the good of his people, and saying words of peace to all his seed.

Stephen's Defense

71 Then the high priest said, Are these things true? 2 And he said, My brothers and fathers, give hearing. The God of glory came to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he was living in Haran, 3 And said to him, Go out of your land, and away from your family, and come into the land to which I will be your guide. 4 Then he came out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and went into Haran; and from there, when his father was dead, he was guided by God into this land, where you are living now: 5 And God gave him no heritage in it, not even enough to put his foot on: but he gave him an undertaking that he would give it to him and to his children after him, though he had no child at that time. 6 And God said that his seed would be living in a strange land, and that they would make them servants, and be cruel to them for four hundred years. 7 And I will be the judge, said God, of that nation which made them servants: and after that, they will come out and give me worship in this place. 8 And he made with him the agreement of which circumcision was the sign. And so Abraham had a son, Isaac, and gave him circumcision on the eighth day; and Isaac had a son, Jacob, and Jacob was the father of the twelve heads of the families of Israel. 9 And the brothers, moved with envy against Joseph, gave him to the Egyptians for money: but God was with him, 10 And made him free from all his troubles, and gave him wisdom and the approval of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and all his house. 11 Now there was no food to be had in all Egypt and Canaan, and there was great trouble: and our fathers were not able to get food. 12 But Jacob, hearing that there was grain in Egypt, sent out our fathers the first time. 13 And the second time his brothers had a meeting with Joseph, and Pharaoh had knowledge of Joseph's family. 14 Then Joseph sent for Jacob his father and all his family, seventy-five persons. 15 And Jacob went down to Egypt, and came to his end there, and so did our fathers; 16 And they were taken over to Shechem, and put to rest in the place which Abraham got for a price in silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

17 But when the time was near for putting into effect the undertaking which God had given to Abraham, the people were increasing in Egypt, 18 Till another king came to power, who had no knowledge of Joseph. 19 He, having evil designs against our nation, was cruel to our fathers, and they were forced to put out their young children, so that they might not go on living. 20 At which time Moses came to birth, and he was very beautiful; and he was kept for three months in his father's house: 21 And when he was put out, Pharaoh's daughter took him and kept him as her son.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Acts 7:1-21

Commentary on Acts 7:1-16

(Read Acts 7:1-16)

Stephen was charged as a blasphemer of God, and an apostate from the church; therefore he shows that he is a son of Abraham, and values himself on it. The slow steps by which the promise made to Abraham advanced toward performance, plainly show that it had a spiritual meaning, and that the land intended was the heavenly. God owned Joseph in his troubles, and was with him by the power of his Spirit, both on his own mind by giving him comfort, and on those he was concerned with, by giving him favour in their eyes. Stephen reminds the Jews of their mean beginning as a check to priding themselves in the glories of that nation. Likewise of the wickedness of the patriarchs of their tribes, in envying their brother Joseph; and the same spirit was still working in them toward Christ and his ministers. The faith of the patriarchs, in desiring to be buried in the land of Canaan, plainly showed they had regard to the heavenly country. It is well to recur to the first rise of usages, or sentiments, which have been perverted. Would we know the nature and effects of justifying faith, we should study the character of the father of the faithful. His calling shows the power and freeness of Divine grace, and the nature of conversion. Here also we see that outward forms and distinctions are as nothing, compared with separation from the world, and devotedness to God.

Commentary on Acts 7:17-29

(Read Acts 7:17-29)

Let us not be discouraged at the slowness of the fulfilling of God's promises. Suffering times often are growing times with the church. God is preparing for his people's deliverance, when their day is darkest, and their distress deepest. Moses was exceeding fair, "fair toward God;" it is the beauty of holiness which is in God's sight of great price. He was wonderfully preserved in his infancy; for God will take special care of those of whom he designs to make special use. And did he thus protect the child Moses? Much more will he secure the interests of his holy child Jesus, from the enemies who are gathered together against him. They persecuted Stephen for disputing in defence of Christ and his gospel: in opposition to these they set up Moses and his law. They may understand, if they do not wilfully shut their eyes against the light, that God will, by this Jesus, deliver them out of a worse slavery than that of Egypt. Although men prolong their own miseries, yet the Lord will take care of his servants, and effect his own designs of mercy.